Monday, December 2, 2019

The Prince Zine by Joshua James Amberson & Rachel Lee-Carman

(Antiquated Future, 2016) With the onslaught of Prince vinyl reissues and new material and the Prince-sorta-authored book coming out this year I have been thinking about this zine a lot lately. It is a 60-page assessment of Prince's work, with biographical sketches of him and his (unequal) cohort, with examinations of some of the naughty and righteous themes ("Controversy!") running through his work and life (running in hip-decimating hells, no less). What I liked about it most was that the author got very deep into world of Prince fandom, tracking down the bootlegs, reading up on the rumors, scouring every source for data, and basically entering the world of deep fandom, without actually becoming a blind, diehard superfan. I almost read Amberson as someone who loves the research aspect more than the subject matter. However the author is passionate about Prince, just pretty critical of early, and late (and a lot of the middle) work, and the author is very interested in how Prince's relationship with gender resonates with them and with the Prince-iverse. There are a lot of Prince books less solid than this zine (including Toure's weird one, which is quoted quite a bit here) and the illustrations are good, especially when the artist captures something sly, weird, and magical in Prince's sleepy eyes.

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